Fuller’s reports like-for-likes up 10% after ‘glorious weather’: Fuller’s has reported a strong first 16 weeks to 20 July 2013, ‘aided by the recent spell of glorious weather’. Total sales in managed pubs and hotels have increased 12.0%. Like-for-like sales were up 10.0% with food and accommodation sales showing very strong growth, demonstrating good underlying momentum. Like-for-like profits in the tenanted inns division were down 1% in the same period, as the company ‘took advantage of the dry conditions to undertake external property repairs’ – underlying profit remains in growth. Total beer and cider volumes declined 2%. Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “After several weeks of barbeque summer weather, it is pleasing to see customers coming to our pubs and gardens to enjoy our food, drink and hospitality. Of course, the boost to our fortunes that the sunshine brings is small in the context of our long-term future. I am therefore equally pleased that the underlying business is well positioned, with pub investments performing strongly and our various long term initiatives, such as our entry into the craft lager and cider markets, showing promising progress.” The company will next report on 22 November 2013 when it issues its half-year report for the 26 weeks to 28 September 2013. Numis Securities analyst Douglas Jack said: “Like-for-like sales rose 10.0% in managed pubs and hotels over the first 16 weeks (to 20 July), implying a 14% like-for-like sales increase over the last seven weeks (since 1 June). As a result, we are upgrading our 2014E forecast by 2%, with our abstemious approach reflecting the fact that the financial year is just 16 weeks old.”
Shepherd Neame reorganises board – confirms distribution deal: Kent-based brewer has re-organised its board. Graeme Craig, currently sales and marketing director, will become director of brewing and brands, with effect from January 2014. Nigel Bunting, currently retail director, will become director of retail and tenanted operations, with effect from July 2014. George Barnes, currently tenanted and property director, will become property and services director with responsibility for all property matters, technical services and other commercial issues, with effect from July 2014. Tom Falcon, currently production and distribution director, will leave the company at the end of December 2013. Ahead of the publication of its preliminary results on 25th September 2013 the company reported underlying trading has been satisfactory in difficult market conditions with like-for-like retail sales for the 52 weeks to June 29th 2013 + 3.3% and average EBITDAR per tenanted pub up + 3.0%. Tenanted like-for-like EBITDAR declined by -1.0% or by -0.5% adjusted to exclude pubs closed for disposal. Total beer volume, for the 52 weeks to June 29th 2013 was down -1.3% but underlying own beer volume, adjusted to exclude contract brewing, was up +0.9%. Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “Shepherd Neame’s strategy is to brew great quality beer, invest in growing our portfolio of own and licensed brands and build the quality and size of our pub and hotel estate.” The company also reported its logistics operation would transfer to Kuehne + Nagel in October – there will be an exceptional charge of £1.7m offset by annual savings of £2m.
Mitchells & Butlers like-for-likes up 1.6% in third quarter: Mitchells & Butlers has reported like-for-like sales growth increased to 1.6% in the third quarter. In the most recent nine weeks, like-for-like sales growth was 2.0%. Total sales growth in the first 42 weeks was 2.4% and operating margins remain slightly above last year. A total of 11 new sites have opened and five have been converted sites so far this financial year. Chief executive Alistair Darby said: “While the cash in people’s pockets remains tight, consumers continue to demand great service and excellent value when they eat and drink out. In this context, we are pleased with the progress that we are making through our business transformation programme to empower and develop our people, modernise our practices and delight our guests. By focusing on the most attractive consumer spaces and building on our fundamental strengths of an excellent estate and strong brands, we are positioning the business for future sustainable growth. We remain on target to deliver a full year result in line with the board’s expectations.”
Marston’s reports like-for-likes up 2.1%: Marston’s has reported a ‘strong’ trading performance since the announcement of its interim results. In Destination and Premium pubs, like-for-like sales for the 42-week period were 2.1% ahead of last year, including like-for-like food sales growth of 3.7% and like-for-like wet sales up 0.5% on last year. Like-for-like sales over the ten weeks to 20 July were 6.0% ahead of last year. 16 new pub-restaurants have been opened in the year to date. In its Taverns community pubs, performance in the second-half year to date is in line with last year with growth in franchise pubs against strong comparatives that included the positive impact of the Euro 2012 football tournament as well as disposals, which are ahead of schedule. In leased pubs, performance for the second half year to date is in line with last year. In brewing, own-brewed beer volumes are up around 6%. Non-core pubs sales have produced proceeds to date of £35 million with a revised forecast of around £50 million by the year-end. Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “Our focus on value for money, quality and great service is generating strong growth in our Destination pubs, with increased customer visits reflecting the appeal of our offers. The key elements of our strategy – the development of new-build pub restaurants; the increased licensee support and improved consumer offers facilitated by franchise agreements; and a brewing business focused on premium beers and local ales, are all on track.”